Friday, October 23, 2009

The Crystal Ball or What Happens to Closed Schools

 Do you wonder what happens after Dr. Weast and his crew surplus a school site?

Its not really about the enrollment.  That was the cry when MCPS closed numerous downcounty schools in the early 1980s.  As a result of that lack of oversight, schools in Silver Spring and Wheaton are currently overcrowded, with the Board of Education reopening several schools, including Arcola, Roscoe Nix, and Sargeant Shriver. 

The school sites never truly leave the MCPS list of real property

Starting with page 13 of the 2008 document, you will see what public entity owns the property.  Some properties are leased, some are reopened, and some morph into something else.  Once land has another use, its impossible to reclaim for public school uses. 

Examples?  Look at page 15.

Have you heard of Bradley Middle School?  Probably not, and its not likely that you ever will.  Bradley MS's property was surplused in a closed Board of Education meeting, and SOLD by the county council to a developer.  Its now the home of Victory Housing, a senior living community.  Four Corners ES was also sold and developed into housing.  Lake Normandy ES became the Potomac Community Center, Georgetown Hill became a private school, so did Tuckerman ES.  Glen Hills ES is a park.  Great Falls ES and Potomac HS now have private homes on their sites, and Olney HS has plans for development.

But - here is a secret that Dr. Weast doesn't know yet - our kids are still in portable learning cottages - or trailers, as they are affectionately known in the real world.   Is that acceptable?

Wake up Poolesville, and ask - can your community afford to have one of its schools closed?  What caused the sudden shift in enrollment projections that prompted Dr. Weast to recommend closing the school?

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